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Hake, Merluccius merluccius

Irish Record Fish: 25.34 lbs 11.50 kgs
Caught: Belfast Lough 1962.
Boat Specimen: 10 lbs  4.54 kgs
Shore Specimen: 5 lbs  2.27 kgs
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Introduction: The Hake is a highly prized commercial fish and commands extremely high prices in continental European markets, where it is preferred to Cod or Haddock.  It can reach up to 30 lbs in weight but this fish is not common in Irish waters.  It ios heavily fished by commercial boats.  To find Hake you need to be able to fish in very deep water marks, ideally on the edge of the under-sea continental shelf.  This means a long trip, with the possible exception of the Mayo and Sligo coasts where the shelf comes within fifty to a hundred miles of the shore.  The only significant catch of Hake in Irish angling history came in Killala Bay, many years ago!

Boat tactics:A 30 lbs rod and reel is a must for taking on deep reef or wreck hake although the drop down to 20 lbs is possible. Hake will shoal in large numbers so it is possible that if you catch one, you will catch a lot!  They do like wrecks, reefs and tend to hunt actively for prey fish.  A strong trace (not wire) is important.  Hake have been known to take just about anything, so long as the bait is big - it is akin to fishing for Cod - they will readily take a whole or half a mackerel, big pirks, spoons and artificial lures, and massive pennel rigs holding sets of squid!  The hooks have to be the match for the bait, so 4/0 hooks upwards are the standard.

Shore tactics: These are deep water fish and it is unlikely they will ever be caught off the shore, albeit you might latch onto one in the aforementioned locations.